Jury sides with Disney over alleged California Screamin' injuries
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2004 7:54 AM | Contributed by CoasterFanMatt
A Southern California jury rejected a claim on Monday by a surgeon who said a whiplash injury suffered on the California Screamin' roller coaster at California Adventure park left him unable to practice medicine.
Thank God Disney went to trial on this one. The madness had to stop somewhere. While some suits have had some merit, this one never seemed anything less than ridiculous. Disney's still stuck with a lawyer bill, but then again, so is the plaintiff.
The funniest thing is this guy actually tried to make it seem like he knew what he was talking about. Yeah, a surgeon knows when it's maintenance's fault his restraint is buggy. If anything, he sat in the seat wrong and didn't brace himself for a sudden turn.
Jeff - your only half right. I'd bet anything that the doctor's attorney was working on a continency fee and the doctor only paid his expenses (probably a couple of thousand bucks). Disney on the other hand probably paid their attorneys big bucks to defend this nonsense (2 hours? My experience is that a jury usually can't decide what to order for lunch in 2 hours). The good news is that the plaintiff's attorney will probably think long and hard before he takes on the mouse again. Besides realizing that his dream of millions of dollars is now a pipe dream, he's realizing he wasted two years of his life on this nonsense.
I've been on juries. If the evidence points to an obvious conclusion, two hours is a piece of cake. Judges give you specific instructions on how to test the validity of the charge or claim and you just apply it.
Jeff- half right about plaintiff being stuck with an attorney's bill. I'm sure plaintiff didn't have to pay for that. Thats part of why the problem why these suits exist. Disney on the other hand . . .
I've been on and before juries. A 2 hour deliberation is quick and demonstrates that there was no merit to the case.
They most certainly would in a personal injury case (which almost always are done using a contingency fee arrangement) where the surgeon claims he couldn't practice anymore (and would have to prove to the jury he was not working) and is suing for ten million dollars (which would net the attorney 1/3 of the amount recovered or 3.3 million dollars vs. what he would have normally billed in the case).
Wake up, mutly23. A lawyer will NEVER work ONLY for a recovery percentage, and nothing else. The lawyer will charge legal fees ($400/hr or so) if no recovery is made OR will charge 1/3 of the recovery, whichever is higher.
Disney has an army of lawyers ready to go to bat against schmucks like this. It's part of doing business. Their legal fees are all part of day-to-day business.
*** This post was edited by Soggy 3/2/2004 3:31:14 PM ***
Soggy- almost all PLAINTIFF'S attorneys in personal injury litigation work on a continency fee basis and work for a 1/3 percentage of the recovery. If the PLAINTIFF losses he pays nothing. Why would an attorney do this? Because when they hit it big- they hit it big. Personal injury verdicts can be huge- sometimes in the millions of dollars. Also if they settle the case quicky they can get a nice little profit. Personal injury lawyers often take a lot of cases-hoping that at least a few of their cases will turn into something. If they loose a case it sucks but they believe they will cash in on the other cases they had. Do you really think we’d have such a litigious society (and so many lawyers) if everyone was paying their actual legal expenses? Very few would be able to afford it.
I have been an attorney for seven years. Presently I defend employers in labor matters. However, I had to spend a few of those early years in a plaintiff firm. I know how it works- I’ve seen it first hand. And yes, in my former job we represented doctors who paid using a contingency fee.
I’m only trying to point out that these types of silly cases won’t go away. There is to much incentive for an attorney to bring these cases because attorneys taking these types of cases usually have overinflated dreams of big dollar signs. I’m really not trying to turn this into a pissing match or attorneysbuzz.
If Edgar Snyder's commercials here in Pittsburgh are to be believed ("and remember, there's no legal fees unless we get money for you!") I'll certainly buy that lawyers are willing to work on contingency only for cases like this.So would that mean the plaintiff's lawyer in this case is the big loser? 2 years of work for nothing except a stained reputation -- ouch.*** This post was edited by GregLeg 3/2/2004 7:18:52 PM ***
Well, when we were PLAINTIFFS in a personal injury case, the lawyer made very clear up front that if the case was tried and no recovery made, we were responsible for legal fees. I guess we got some low-life shiester? We consulted 3 other firms, they all had this policy.
GregLeg, if Edgar Snyder in Pitt is anything like Larry Parker in SoCal (and I'm sure they are cut from the same mold) then there is a little star after that statement and some fine print on the screen before the commercial is over.
If lawyers are truly doing this for free if no recovery is made, it's something I have never seen before.